Last year, I lived in the FYROM for 6 months. I was there teaching English in a medium sized town. One of my favourite things about being in the Balkans is that there are a lot of countries tightly packed together, and it is easy to visit other countries when you're there.
On one particular jaunt, I visited the coastal town of Thessaloniki in neighbouring Greece. Earlier in the year, I had lived in Athens for a month, and now I was eager to see the country's second biggest city.
Now.. living in FYROM, it had become second nature to me to refer to the country as 'Macedonia'. In the world in which I lived, it was the acceptable thing to do.
In Greece - particularly in the north of Greece - things are very different.
One evening, while walking back to my AirBnB, I started a conversation with a friendly bar owner who was closing up for the evening.
He asked me why I was visiting Thessaloniki, and before I had checked myself, I replied: 'I live and work in Macedonia....'.
The world around me stopped and everything went quiet.
The bar owner was okay.
However, an old man seated nearby was NOT.
He leapt to his feet in a storm of indignation and began shouting and cursing at me. I smiled and just agreed with him, but this made him even madder. I was certain that he would have ripped his shirt in two, if he had thought of it at the time. Instead, he grabbed a chair and hoisted it up into the air, threatening to hit me with it.
Thankfully, nothing became of it. I knew when it was time to walk on. Leaving a cloud of obscenities in the air behind me.
I learned my lesson that evening. The next day, I just used the term 'a bordering country'.
Folks. When in northern Greece, don't refer to FYROM as Macedonia!
To me this guy was way too sensitive, and this issue between the two countries has been blown out of all proportion. But who am I to say?
Read the full story here: https://megliovivere.com/2018/06/19/macedonia-name-change/
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